Is this the TTC fare gate of the future?
The company behind the Presto card readers due to be fitted to Toronto streetcars, buses, and at subway entrances is making a case for new automatic fare gates that would replace the current turnstiles.
TTC Chair Karen Stintz tested a prototype fare gate manufactured by Scheidt-Bachmann at the Direct Energy Centre yesterday. The German company, which has a contract to supply Toronto with the first wave of Presto card readers, is making a pitch for additional sales.
Currently, the TTC and Presto plan to retrofit all the existing turnstiles with touch pads, but that could change if the gates make financial and technical sense.
"There's a whole bunch of questions that need to be answered," says TTC's Chris Upfold, including whether the gates could withstand the deep freeze of a Toronto winter. "If the maintenance of the older turnstiles is more expensive on a year-on-year basis than a new turnstiles then maybe over the course of 15 or 20 years it would make sense to buy new."
Some turnstiles on the subway date back to the opening of the Yonge line in 1954. Quality design, simple mechanisms, and regular maintenance have kept The Canadian Beaver Co. machines working so long, TTC spokesman Brad Ross said last year.
Is the impending arrival of Presto a logical time for the TTC overhaul its fare gates or is this a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"?
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.